Municipal advancement and tourism policy in the United States: Economic development and urban restructuring

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A Research Agenda for Urban Tourism


Tourism in North America has emerged as a central aspect of cultural policy given that cities endeavor to strengthen their existing identities, and/or recast new images within the pursuit of economic expansion opportunities. While today urban economic development efforts include culture, leisure, and tourism as significant parts of a broader planning mix, urban tourism and related cultural forms did not fit into the schemes for growth during the 1950s and 1960s. Post-WWII urban restructuring was accompanied by a shift from a production-oriented to a consumption-oriented economy. It was within the midst of intercity competition that municipals governments aimed to construct the city of leisure, through the use of various strategies including robust private-public partnerships. The infrastructure that followed in the form of sports stadiums, conventions centers, arenas, museums, parks, concert halls, and waterfront developments, produced amenities that not only attracted tourists, but also reshaped the socioeconomic realities of residents. In the process, many downtowns were reformulated, giving rise to new neighborhoods, often causing gentrification and displacement. This chapter examines cities within this broader context while also recognizing the associated complexities and dynamic nature of tourism as a driver of economic advancement and cultural change.


Government and Sociology

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